Released on Profile Records during a time when their roster consisted of righteous rhymers like King Sun and Poor Righteous Teachers, Quik was pioneering in helping to usher in the “gangsta rap” sound on a mainstream scale in the early 90s and labels were just beginning to shift their marketing dollars towards this sub-genre of Hip-Hop.
With the help of producers Courtney Branch, Greg Jessie and Tracy Kendrick, Quik managed to produce a rap classic that sold 50,000 in its first week with only a $30,000 budget for production. Recorded in Westlake Recording Studio in Los Angeles, the same spot where Michael Jackson’s epic Thriller masterpiece was created, Quik and crew finished up the album in 17 days.
The album’s lead single, “Born And Raised In Compton,” climbed to Number 6 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs, while tracks like “Tonite,” “Deep” and the album’s title track solidified the funk sound that later saturated West Coast Hip Hop music.
Salute to the Big Homie for laying down this pioneering project that will forever be considered one of the Top 100 Albums in Hip-Hop!
On this date almost three decades ago, Chris Martin bka the legendary DJ Premier and Keith Elam bka the Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) put together Gang Starr’s second and possibly most memorable album, Step Into The Arena. The duo were one of the first groups signed the the newly formed Chysalis/EMI label after ditching Wild Pitch Records following their debut album, No More Mr. Nice Guy.
With production solely in the hands of Preemo and Guru, the raw, gritty sound that helped mold New York Hip Hop during its Golden Era can be found in many facets of this project, which is somewhat surprising coming from a rapping teacher from Boston and a DJ from Houston, Texas who just happened to link up in East New York, Brooklyn. Tracks such as the jux-inspired “Just To Get A Rep”, the consiouly cool lyricism of “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight” and the hilarious bug-a-boo fueled “What You Want This Time?” showed and proved Gang Starr’s innate ability to capture an experience on wax that all listeners can feel.
Salute to Preemo, the Elam family and everyone else involved in creating this piece of Hip Hop history!
On this date in 1998, Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss, who are better known as the rap trio The L.O.X.(Living Off Experience), dropped their debut album on then-Puff Daddy’s steadily growing Bad Boy label. Following in the footsteps of artists like Craig Mack and Notorious B.I.G., the Yonkers collective had to go the extra length to prove themselves worth to carry the Bad Boy legacy and that they have done and continue to do.
With production on this project from the likes of Swizz Beatz, D. Dot, Dame Grease and Mr. Combs himself, there was very little chance that this project flop. Even with the shiny suits, the lyrical content and dexerity was on point from all three members, solidifying their slots as lyrical legends in their own rights coming into the new millennium. Tracks like “If You Think I’m Jiggy” and the album’s epic title track were both perfect fusions of street anthems with crossover appeal, which allowed the LOX a fanbase on both sides of the mainstream “boundary”.
Thanks to Diddy, D-Block and the entire Bad Boy staff who helped to put together this timeless classic!
On this date in 1995, Steele and Tek aka Smif N Wessun of the legendary Boot Camp Clik release their debut album Dah Shinin’ on the ultra-indie imprint, Wreck Records.
This was also the sophomore effort of the Boot Camp Clik, which exposed the skills of more of the artists that were heard on Black Moon’s debut project, Enta Da Stage. Tracks such as “Cession at da Doghillee” and “Sound Bwoy Bureill” introduced members of Heltah Skeltah, the duo that included the late Sean Price, as well as the Originoo Gunn Clappaz(O.G.C.), which completed the epic Brooklyn rap collective.
With in-house production courtesy of Da Beatminerz, the Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity-esque feel that was captured on the album’s cover can definitely be felt through the verses over the haunting tracks. Even though the album never reached gold status in terms of sales, Dah Shinin’ is undoubtedly one of the albums that defines its era.
With all of the controversy surrounding troubled R&B legend R. Kelly after the release of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary series, it’s hard to imagine that the skeletons will ever stop coming out of the closet.
Demetrius Smith, R. Kelly’s former tour manager, was on The Domenick Nati Show, where he discussed his experiences with Kelly, from his infatuation with young girls to the the singer even coming in his hotel room butt naked.
With all of the allegations aimed at Kelly, it’s very possible that a criminal investigation could be pending for Kelly in regards to these alleged sex crimes.
On this date in 2005, Queensbridge rap king Nasir Jones akaNas and sultry Star Trak songstress Kelis Rogers tied the knot in holy Hip Hop matrimony in Atlanta, Georgia.
The two got hitched at the Morningside Baptist Church in a private ceremony for friends and family. The couple kept a low-profile for a few years, but rumors of infidelity and a sex tape featuring Kelis and a then unknown rapper named Infrared led to their ultimate break up and divorce in 2009.
Kelis later accused the rapper of verbal and physical abuse, even during her pregnancy with the couple’s first child, but those allegations were never substantiated.
Nas used Kelis’ green silk and chiffon wedding dress as a prop on his Life Is Good album cover post their divorce.
48 hours into the new year and you already know what that means.
The time has come for The Source to announce our top 20 battle rappers and top 5 events of the previous year. Looking back, one thing is clear: The culture is bubbling to new heights. 2018 not only gave platform for the emergence of great talent, but produced some of greatest battles of all times.
Before we get into the list, lets review some of our favorite moments and bars of the year.
In 2018, we saw the return on a few battle rap veterans: Murda Mook , Jae Millz , T- Rex and Reed Dollaz proved that you can go away and do mainstream projects and still come home to an attentive audience. Some were able to deliver their classic flows to an anxious newby crowd that had only seen them on grainy YouTube, others seemed outdated and out of touch with the culture as it is now. Either way, these battlers created quite a stir on some of the top cards of the year.
We also enjoyed the stripped down, low production styled battles that we saw with URL’s new BANNED series and Smack Vol. series and the make-up battle between Ill Will and Calicoe on the RBE Lift His Soul 5.
Speaking of BANNED…
Lets revisit the Nu Jerzey Twork vs Chess for one of our first moments and favorite haymakers. A classic battle indeed, both men traded slick shots back and forth. While we appreciated the disrespectful tone of the bout, we doubt Smack appreciated getting his pockets tapped in round 3 as Twork got ‘strapped in.’
“I’m strapped in… Nah, Nah… I ain’t even strapped. I’m still on strike. Y’all gotta deal with that! All this pay-per-view shit, I don’t like what I’m hearing Smack. You made $2.5 million? Nigga where its at?”
Another bar that we loved also comes from the front man from The Goonies. On SMACK Vol. 2, against Aye Verb, at the top of round three, Twork attempts a kill shot with his trademark.
Let’s go in unison: “I’m strapped in! I’ll clap you in a coma! Madness! I could snap at any moment….”
“I pull a pound! 100 clip, he get the fully round!He don’t know who did it.. I’m over the body with the hoodie down”
Now lets get into the list. We surveyed over all kinds of battle rap enthusiasts for the last three months (including fans, league owners, bloggers/ influencers and the battlers). The surveys were done in s qualitative manner with special attention to what fans have said and what rappers outside of the culture believe. With over 200 submissions, here are the results.
Before you get your Twitter fingers moving, we’re not done. There is more…
Goodz makes our honorable mentions because he was undeniably one of the best battlers of the year, though he only battle twice this year. While he was god-like against last year’s number one battler Tay Roc, his battle against Jimz was lackluster and ended in a fight. We look forward to an even better year from the vet, as he is scheduled to battle Cassidy on URL.
Ill Will has been cooking, showing up ready to battle and representing Pontiac to the fullest. Those surveyed did not vote him on the list, but we could not let this listing go without noting that he did his thing and deserved to be on the list. His Calicoe and T-Top battles were not only entertaining but proved that he just ain’t anything to be “f*cked” with.
Goonies’ Ryda and female rapper QB Black Diamond also deserve honorable mentions.
This year we felt it was necessary to include top events as well. Check out our top events list below.
Top 5 Events:
URL’s Nome 8
RBE’s Rare Breeds
RBE’s Lift His Soul 5
URL’s SMACK Vol. 3
S.E.A. Cinco De Mayo
K.O.T.D.’s Massacre 4
RapGrid’s Atlanta vs. Everybody
Extra Special Mentions:
BANNED series…. all of them
Thank you to all the fans and survey participants. The culture is alive and well. See you next year.
Born Chad Lamont Butler on this day in 1973 in Port Arthur, Texas, Pimp C emerged into the Hip Hop scene with his partner Bun B to make the Underground Kingz(UGK) one of the greatest rap groups to come out of the Dirty South and undoubtedly the best rap duo from Texas.
In his illustrious three decade long career, the Pimp released nine UGK albums, six full length solo albums and even a posthumous book Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story by Ozone Magazine owner Julia Beverly, which dropped this past summer.
Pimp C lost his life in December of 2007 from an overdose of promethazine syrup, which is called “lean” on the streets, in West Hollywood, California. He was only 33 years old. Even though his physical presence is gone and sorely missed, many artists still pay homage to Sweet Jones through his music and dedications to him of their own music.
On this date in 1999, rap phenomenon DMX released his third studio effort entitled …And Then There Was X on the Def Jam/Ruff Ryders imprint. With production from the likes of Harlem trendsetter Dame Grease, Swizz Beatz and of course the Ruff Ryders’ generals Dee and Waah, this timeless classic went five time platinum within a year and received a Grammy nod for Best Rap Album in 2001. It has been X’s best selling album to date.
The sophomore single, which eventually catapulted to the album’s lead single, “Party Up(Up In Here), received the most acclaim, peaking at #27 on Billboard Hot 100 and was featured in several silver screen classics such as How High, Gone In 60 Seconds and Ghostbusters. The third, R&B driven track, “What These Bitches Want?” featuring Sisqo, was one of the biggest hits in DMX’s career, which was a true to life confession of the women in his life.
Shout out to X, Dee, Waah, Swizz, Dame Grease and the rest of Ruff Ryders squad who came together to bring us this piece of Hip Hop history!